Sunday, July 31, 2016

Gifting a Get Well Care Package

Hello all! Recently the mother of a friend of mine was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cervical Cancer. Unfortunately the cancer spread to her bones, lungs, spine, and brain. So having heard that, I decided to put together a gift box in order to raise her spirits and distract her from the pain she is undoubtedly experiencing. Here's what I bought:

1. Cats in Paris: A Magical Coloring Book by Won-Sun Jang | From what I hear, adult coloring books are very therapeutic to draw in, so I got this one for her from Urban Outfitters. I liked how whimsical it was. The other coloring books they had were incredibly intricate and structured. It was dizzying for even me to look at, and I know she's already nauseous enough (with headaches) as is, so I ruled them out.

2. Coloring Markers Set | Of course I had to get her markers to use to fill in the coloring book! These were also purchased from Urban Outfitters.

3. All About Me. by Philipp Keel | This book is a fill-in-the-blanks journal that is the perfect tool for self-reflection and designed to help you construct The Story of Your Life. What better gift to help someone make meaning of their life? 

4. Shallow Hal | Shallow Hal - yaaaaas! Who doesn't love Shallow Hal? This is such a side-splitting comedy that makes my whole day whenever I catch it on TV. Margaret actually really likes this movie, but doesn't own it on DVD, so I decided to get it for her.

5. Gilded Superscript Monogram Coaster | These delicate monogrammed coasters from Anthropologie are so classy and elegant. Margaret is a home decor guru and I wanted to get her something aesthetically stylish and personalized. I know coasters are a bit random, but I feel they could make a great addition on her table.

6. Albeit Lip Scrub | I purchased this rose sugar lip scrub from Anthropologie because I wanted to get something lovely and pretty and dainty for Margaret. I checked out the Sephora travel sized section, but didn't see much for my price point that I felt she could use or would be right for her during this time. The packaging of this stole my heart and truthfully that's why I bought it. Plus, a lip scrub sounds somewhat luxurious.

7. Serenity Wellness Tea by Teavana | I know tea is very soothing and therapeutic for some people, so I double checked with my friend to see whether his mother was a tea drinker and then proceeded to go to Teavana in my local mall. I chose the Serenity Wellness Tea because it was mild, caffeine-free, and recommended for people with upset stomachs. I then purchased a gold tea tin to package it in! 

8. Quattro Stagioni Mason Jar from the Container Store | My sister and I tagged-teamed to fill up a mason jar with positive and uplifting messages found on Pinterest! All the ones I found were incredibly somber - I tried typing in queries like comforting quotes for the end of life, or loss, or for dying loved ones, and even the ones that were eloquent still felt like they were prepping the person for the other side. Even typing in uplifting or inspirational didn't help. Needless to say Diana talked me out of them.

9. Sinus Aches Relief Wrap from Bed, Bath and Beyond | For the life of me I can't find the exact sinus relief spa solution I bought for her, but it was from Bed, Bath and Beyond and it was also $12.99 so I'm just putting this one here as a placeholder. Margaret has been suffering a lot of headache pain so I wanted to throw something comforting in to help soothe her pain. 

10. Because You're a Mom | This is such a precious book I stumbled upon while browsing Barnes and Nobles. Essentially, it's a journal, and at first I thought, a) this seems way too personalized to moms and b) it's a 'mom journal,' no big deal. Then I opened it and it was just so lovely! It is filled with so much positivity and has inspirational content on each page and fun activities. It emphasizes the mother's place in their child's heart, and I thought that would be really special to give Margaret.

11. Collapsible Gift Box with Striped Interior from the Container Store | I bought the large blue gift box pictured above to contain all the gifts I was sending. I love how classy and high quality it looks. I would have preferred to get this pink one shown here but it wasn't big enough. 

Total Cost? $126.72 (Not including tax)

So, this personalized care package ended costing me a pretty penny, but it wasn't so bad because my parents chipped in $30 and my sister chipped in $25. Either way, I spared no expense because it was worth it to me to bring my friend's mom some light and hopefully joy and relief at this very difficult stage in her journey.

Let me know what you think of the items! I'd love to hear your feedback.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Red Carpet Style Crush: Zendaya

Not only is Zendaya Coleman beautiful, she is a bonafide bombshell each and every time she takes to the red carpet. Her impeccable style and fashion taste make her a regular favorite on the celebrity fashion circuit, and time she steps out for an event, she stuns. Kudos to Zendaya and her styling team.

 2016 Billboard Awards, 2016 Golden Globes

American Heart Association Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection 2015, MTV Movie Awards 2015

2015 Met Gala, 2015 AMAs

Marie Claire Fresh Faces Party 2016,  GLAAD Media Awards 2016

2016 Miss America Pageant, The Clara Foundation's 2nd Annual Diamond Ball

Sunday, May 22, 2016

My Birthday Wishlist

My birthday is in just 3 weeks! Despite knowing no one will actually see this (except I'm really hoping someone will), I have compiled a list of all the stuff I really want but am restricting myself from buying.

1. Quay Avalon Sunnies $55

2. BaubleBar Milkyway Necklace $34

5. BaubleBar Glitter Layered Necklace $32

6. BaubleBarAsymmetrical Alpha Pendant $32

7. BaubleBar Kaa Y-Chain $28

8. BaubleBar Cleo Collar $32

9. BaubleBar Micro Collar $38

10. BaubleBar Sky Layered Necklace $32

I've been obsessed with dresses from Lipsy, a UK brand. I have 2 dresses I bought a year-two years ago. One I wore to my cousin's wedding (even though the neckline ended up having this weird malfunction that wasn't there the day I tried it on for practice, but did the morning of the wedding), and the other I haven't even worn yet! I have nowhere to effing wear it. So you know what? I'm wearing it on my birthday this year when I celebrate at my grandma's house. Yeah I know, I'll be overdressed.

11. Erin Condren Designer Dots $4
I own an Erin Condren planner and I realized that the key to using it in a way that is organizational, fun, and productive, is purchasing tons of stickers to help categorize and label what you've got going on in your life. 

These planner covers are too cute, and seeing as my covers have just about broken off, I think now is the perfect time to get a new one (though I wish mine had been more durable :/)

15. Jones + Jones Sequin Bodice Skater Dress £65.00 ($94.31)

19. Lipsy Poppy Print Mini Skater Dress £50.00 ($72.55)

Monday, May 2, 2016

8 Instagram Posts I'm Loving Right Now

When I'm on the train, between playing Candy Crush (yes I'm well aware I deserve to be called out for still being on this trend) and refreshing Instagram when there's service, my morning and evening commutes are made much more pleasant. Instagram gives me a constant feed of inspiration from my favorite fashion bloggers and brands and I'm always looking for new posts! Here are eight that I've been loving lately (not all are recent, some of these I came across through scrolling in length).

From left to right: @inthefrow, @mariannan, @roseandben, @desiperkins

From left to right: @laurenelizabeth, @laurenelizabeth, @mariannan, @laurenelizabeth

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Purchases: 6 Product Reviews

Hi everyone! A few weeks ago I received my monthly Ulta catalog touting the 21 Days of Beauty Sale that comes around every so often. Whenever I get the sale calendar, I always make a note to pick up certain products because Ulta often puts bestsellers in their lineup and best of all, they're all discounted by 50%! Finally, I made a note of all the products I wanted to pick up and actually committed to buying them. I bought almost everything I wanted. Here are my picks, along with product close-ups and mini reviews:

Smashbox Baked Fusion Softlights in Starblush - Orig. $32 Purchased for $16

Product Claims: "A disc of five baked, glimmering shades to bring a soft veil of shimmer to the complexion." Additional details claim "Get a gorgeous lit-from-within glow with this radiant silk-like powder. Enriched with an innovative baked formula, it imparts luminous shimmer to keep the skin looking luminous. These soft shades can be layered together and dusted onto cheeks, temples, the nose, the decollete, or even the lids for a glowing look. Or use the true highlighter (lightest shade) to strobe."

Review: Wow this product claims to be a lot, doesn't it? In reality, this product is a total and complete tease. Despite its gorgeous appearance, when applied to the skin this product is virtually invisible. While a quick swatch of the finger will immediately turn your finger into a glowy, luminous, incandescent sex object, when you actually go in with a brush and apply the product to your face, the result will make you confused. Where the hell is it? This product required layers and layers of application, with deep digs into the product to build up a tint visible to the human eye. I had to pile on the powder to even remotely create an angelic cast on my cheekbones. Disappointing. I returned it.

Smashbox Baked Fusion Softlights in Baked Starburst - Orig. $32 Purchased for $16 

Review: Similar story here, but not quite. The Smashbox Baked Fusion Softlights in Baked Starburst actually did show up on my skin, and didn't require as much application as the Starblush shade. I actually really liked the sheen it gave my cheekbones, but the highlight faded quickly throughout the day, and once I bought the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Gleam (4 beautiful shades), I didn't feel like I needed this anymore. I preferred to get my money back so I returned it, but sometimes I still wonder if I should have kept it around.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Gleam - $40

Product Claims: The ultimate highlighter for the girl who craves a flawless gleam. Housed in chic compacts, Glow Kits feature an enviable wardrobe of four metallic powders that give your complexion an intense luminosity. Shades include:

  • Hard Candy (mood-changing golden peach w/a pink pearl reflective finish)
  • Mimosa (radiant golden peach w/ a metallic finish)
  • Starburst (rush of cool pink w/an iridescent finish
  • Crushed Pearl (glimmering pink and silver w/a crystalized finish) 

Review: So this was not a product featured in the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Sale, but when I overheard the sales associates half-whispering about how they got this product in last night, I knew I had to act fast. I'm so glad I did because this product is g-g-gorgeous! I'm so pleased to have added it to my collection, these highlighters feel like butter and they apply like a dream. They add an instant gorgeous sheen to your cheekbones, and each shade is so lovely that I can't tell which is my favorite. The one exception to these is the top left shade, Hard Candy, which is the highlighter I thought I would like the most. It fits my go-to blush color profile, which is primarily bronzey mauves, but it actually doesn't apply as nicely as the other colors. It's less buttery and a little patchy. Also, the color doesn't look quite right (interesting that it's apparently mood changing). One last thing, the descriptions of the colors are really off to me and the product image on Ulta is super muted so make sure to google for more accurate photos.

Laura Geller Baked Blush-n-Brighten in Pink Grapefruit - Orig. $28 Purchased for $14

Product Claims: Laura Geller Blush-n-Brighten starts with a radiant blend of liquid pigment that is baked for 24 hours to create a soft, creamy powder. This formula treats your skin to a nourishing blend of antioxidants and anti-aging properties while creating a beautiful, glowing complexion. Features:

  • Made with a blend of rich, marbleized color
  • Unique formula is baked for 24 hours
  • Soft, creamy powder goes on evenly
  • Formulated with anti-aging and antioxidant protection
  • Paraben free and mineral oil free 

Review: It's veery easy for you to feel like you hit the blush truck with this one. I went to Ulta a week before the 21 days sale to test out the shades of this blush line by Laura Geller. I only found two shades I really liked, and this was one of them. However, when dusted on the cheeks, this blush immediately turns your cheeks bright pink. It's almost like a day-glow color. Judging from the actual blush itself, in the container, I thought it would translate to giving off a gorgeous flushed neutral warm pink-y tint, but instead it just looks intensely concentrated hot pink. Think of a rouge pot and a powder puff. Now hit your cheeks with it. That's the intensity of this blush.

Laura Geller Baked Blush-n-Brighten in Honeysuckle - Orig. $28 Purchased for $14

Review: Laura Geller's Baked Blush-n-Brighten in Honeysuckle - love at first sight. While I'm still on the fence about the Pink Grapefruit shade, this blush makes me smile, literally. I dabbed this shade on my cheek and it gave off such a beautiful bronzed, rose/tan color that I busted out into a grin. I had been nervous because this shade is a bit perplexing in the pan - it's kind of just this brown/pink marbelized looking swirl of powder, but I knew from swatching it on my hand that it actually gave off a deep tan/rose, which is exactly what it looks like on the skin.

Too Faced Sweetheart Perfect Flush Blush in Peach Beach - Orig. $30 Purchased for $15

Product Claims: Choose from three no-fail color palette blushes to take the guesswork out of creating a sweet, romantic flush. In each baked, heart shaped blush there are three individual color swatches. The baking process and multiple colors create dimensional color to provide the look of younger, brighter, healthier skills. It's like having Hollywood lighting wherever you go.

Review: So... this blush. I'm not quite sure about my thoughts on this one, despite me having applied it several times from sheer all the way up to full intensity to try and get an assessment of it. How does it look? I actually took a photo of the color on my makeup brush to try and give you a better idea.

It's hard to place what color is produced when swirling the three strips of color together. Judging from the brush, the color certainly is peachy (as the title alludes to), but it also shows up somewhat pinky. The color itself isn't unpretty, but there's just something about it that I'm not wild about. While it doesn't particularly tickle my fancy, it IS truly one of those blushes that give your cheeks a natural flush of color (good job on the name Too Faced!). Last note - this blush is very shimmery and sparkly, so be aware that it will look like you are wearing blush. I might return.

Thanks so much guys for tuning into this post, I really enjoyed writing these mini reviews and sharing my thoughts. I hope you will continue to come back for more! Thanks.